What happened

Shares of advertising-technology company Magnite (NASDAQ:MGNI), previously known as The Rubicon Project, surged higher on Monday even though the company didn't report anything newsworthy. However, there was encouraging news in the ad-tech world, which might explain Magnite stock's upward move.

As of 3:30 p.m. EDT, Magnite stock was 11% higher. 

A man in a suit rides a rocket higher over a multi-colored bar chart, with rocket exhaust made of currency.

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

Magnite CEO Michael Barrett gave a video interview with Beet.TV today. In the short segment, he spoke about the importance of being an independent sell-side platform and the growing trend away from traditional pay-TV to connected TV. These are good things for investors to consider, but none of it was news. 

By contrast, ad-tech peer Criteo (NASDAQ: CRTO) did report positive news. The company's stock popped after it raised its guidance for the upcoming second quarter. Previously, it guided for Q2 revenue of $140 million to $147 million, excluding traffic acquisition costs (TAC). Now the company expects Q2 revenue excluding TAC of $174 million to $175 million.

In other words, this ad business improved around 20% in just the last couple of months. Assuming this is a general trend and not something specific to Criteo (a reasonable assumption), then Magnite could be seeing a similar boost.

Now what

Revenue growth is something investors should expect with a technology company like Magnite. It's favorably positioned to profit from the growing consumer trend to cut the cord and stream video content on connected devices. Even still, it guided for a sequential revenue decline next quarter, likely due to the uncertainty of COVID-19. 

Perhaps today's news from Criteo means Magnite will pleasantly surprise investors when it reports Q2 results. That would be welcome. The company's ad slots were trending higher during the height of the coronavirus lockdown, reflecting increased connected-TV consumption. Yet revenue per slot was down due to companies slashing their advertising budgets. If revenue per slot goes up as budgets resume, that would be good for Magnite.

However, until we hear from the company, it's best to brace for results reflecting its previous guidance.